New fund for women is the next step in Kiva’s evolution

585e42e3fcf3c93e3af174b3ae2d8636.jpeg, known for making microfinance accessible to citizen lenders looking to help low-income entrepreneurs, is looking to expanding to larger loans for small and medium enterprises. In a partnership with the United States Department of State and the Inter-American Development Bank, the company established the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund--opening up loans to up to 1 million women entrepreneurs, matching amplifying the donations of citizen lenders through, and helping underserved women-owned businesses in the organizations foray into impact investing. It's a move that could set a model for socially responsible investing for many other companies. - Truphena Anyango, a 29-year-old married mother of one in Mikindani, Mombasa, Kenya where she runs a pharmacy and also sells cosmetics. A loan of $650 administered by VisionFund Kenya helped her to purchase more cosmetics and sanitary products for her business. Photo by: John Briggs / Kiva

Kiva partnered with the United States Department of State and the Inter-American Development Bank to launch the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund on Friday, signaling the next step in the crowdfunding platform’s ongoing expansion into impact investing.

Seventy percent of small and medium enterprises owned by women in emerging markets are underserved or unserved, leading to a $260 billion to $320 billion credit gap for women, according to the International Finance Cooperation. Despite the odds, women reinvest 90 percent of their incomes in their families and communities.

“We see time and again with Kiva that the most impactful, high leverage, accelerated way to change the world more positively is by getting money directly into the hands of women, and particularly women entrepreneurs,” said Julie Hanna, Kiva’s board chair.

Read more here.